Come October 26th, when the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) will be meeting in Abuja for this year’s international convention, twenty renowned authors, scholars and professionals will be conferred with the fellowship of the association. These are persons who have done exceptionally well to keep the writers’ body steady and strong. Edozie Udeze writes on them and what place they have in the history of writing, authorship and scholarship in Nigeria.
In its ceaseless efforts to ensure the steady progress and success of the writers body in Nigeria, the current executives of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) has released names of writers, authors, scholars and stakeholders qualified to be made fellows. To be conferred with the fellowship of ANA, is one of those rarest honours given to those have over time done extraordinarily well to keep the affairs of the association active and vibrant.
For this year therefore, the national secretariat of ANA has released twenty names of those who have invested enormously in the affairs of the body. These individuals have also participated towards ensuring the development, growth and advancement of literature and literary affairs within and outside Nigeria. These names are: Professors Anaezi Okoro, Abdul Rasheed Na’Allah, Moses Tsenongu, Razinat Mohammed, Nduka Otiono, Vicky Sylvester, Tessy Onwueme, Yusuf Adamu, Dul Johnson, Amanze Akpuda. Others are: Lindsay Barret, Dr. Tony Marinho, Professor Mark Nwagwu, Professor Ademola Dasylva, Professor Olabanji Fashina, Dr. Emmanuel C.S Ojukwu (CP Rtd), Miesoinuma Minima, Engr. Emmanuel Frank-Opigo, Professor Udenta Udenta and Professor Francis Oisaghaede Egbokhare.
Dr. Anaezi Okoro is a renowned author. He is first and foremost a surgeon, a professor of medicine whose practice has spanned over decades. He is noted as the first Demotologist in West Africa. Over the years Okoro has shown that the act of writing is a call you cannot resist or suppress or ignore once it is inside you. Apart from being a scholar, having taught at the University of Ibadan and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Okoro has authored such remarkable books as Village School at Amanzu, Village Headmaster, Double Trouble, The second Great Flood and more. As the former president of African Association of Demotology (1986 – 1991) in addition to being a visiting professor ito so many tertiary institutions, he has come to demonstrate high level of professional resilience. For all these and more, he is duly considered to be a fellow. He was born in 1929.
Professor Moses Tsenongu is of the department of English, Benue State University, Makurdi. He is a specialist in African poetry, oral literature and creative writing. He is equally a translator, author, someone who has tutored and molded and shaped many characters over time. He is one of the strongest pillars of ANA, more so, in Benue, his homestead. His steady, unwavering support for ANA has been incredible, hence his inclusion among the comity of fellows.
Professor Abdul Rasheed Na’Allah is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja. He was also the VC of the Kwara State University, Molete. A graduate of the University of Ilorin where he had his first degree in English, he has since risen to become an international scholar, poet, playwright, administrator, name it. He has authored many books some of which touch expediently on the development of traditional oral poetry. He had his PhD from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. His overwhelming love for ANA and all its ideals, has earned him an enviable place as one of the fellows for 2022. He is also a recipient of many awards, home and abroad.
Professor Razinat Talatu Mohammed is a feminist writer, advocate and critic. She is an expert in feminist literary criticism, winning awards thereof. She is of the University of Abuja where she teaches English and holds forth as the H.O.D. A great story teller, her book – A Love like a Woman’s and other stories, earned her not only an award, but unprecedented recognition. Her area of interest in literature is Theoretical Approach and Gender studies. As well as other books of hers, she is the author of Habiba, Travails of a First Wife and more.
Emmanuel Ojukwu, a retired Commissioner of Police, holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Lagos. His first degree in the same discipline was obtained at the UNN. However, he was once the chairman of ANA in Abuja. With that position he did exceedingly well to uphold the primary tenets of authorship, writing, all. A member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), he was once the PPRO of the Nigerian Police Force. Ojukwu loves books, he rummages in the euphoria of authorship. At a point he was the president of UNN Alumni Association, Abuja. For him, therefore, police is your helper and friend. This mantra has helped him over the years. And so ANA feels he has done enough to be admitted into the fellowship.
Miesoinuma Minima is of the department of English, the University of Port Harcourt. He is the author of one of the most resounding stage plays on the inanities of political satire in the Niger Delta. The play is Odum Egege, a tragedy with three acts pontificating some of the anomalies that define the never-ending political, social and economic issues that trouble his people. His work which dwells on King Jaja of Opobo, talks about the role of a patriotic nationalist cut to size by the overzealous British colonial army in the days of yore. Additionally, he is a committed researcher, scholar, playwright. He is overtly committed to ANA, both at the local and the national levels.
Professor Nduka Otiono, is a veteran of ANA politics, having being its former secretary general. Now, a professor of English at the Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, where he is also its director of the Institute of African Studies, he often keeps abreast of the goings-on in ANA politics. A writer, poet and journalist, Otiono is an award-winning author of Night Hides with a Knife, Voices in the Rainbow, Love in Time of Nightmare and many more. He is considered a fellow because he has used his position to consistently impact on the growth of ANA in and out of seasons.
Professor Mnguember Vicky Sylvester is of the University of Abuja where she is passionate about and totally given to issues of women literature. For over seventeen years now, she has fully given herself to the promotion of literary issues that pertain to women. Author of Dichotomy in Nigerian Secondary Schools: Problems and Benefits, Long shadows, the Advantages of literature and learners and more, her works have generated considerable discourses in the academic circle, home and beyond. Her role in the advancement of authorship in Nigeria cannot therefore be overlooked hence she is appropriately listed among the best of the best for this year’s fellowship.
Lindsay Eseoghene Barret is a well-known journalist, columnist and critic. A Jamaican – Nigerian, he is also the father of internationally recognized author A. Igoni Barret. Barret is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, photographer and pan-Africanist. Earlier in his career, his works attracted and spread the Caribbean Artist Movement in the UK, USA and Africa. Among his numerous books are: The Prime Ministers Christmas Card; Blue Poles and Cultural Politics in Whittam Era, Song of Mumu. He has won a couple of awards as a film maker, scriptwriter, et al.
Professor Tess Onwueme is a renowned writer, scholar, playwright, poet. Her works over time concentrated on social justice, culture and the environment. Some of her books include The Reign of Wazobia, Broken Calabash, Shakara dance-hall Queen. Her plays are often a reflection of political and social issues that impede progress and development. As at now, she still remains one of the best African female dramatists, critics and writers. At the University of Wisconsin, USA, she is named a professor of Global Letters. So far, she has many awards as a distinguished scholar, sound academic. Therefore her place among the best of the best in the fellowship cadre this year is incontrovertible.
Professor Yusuf Adamu is a professor of Medical Geography. He is a poet, writer, blogger. He is of the department of Geography, Bayero University, Kano. He is a Fullbright fellow, Social Science Academy of Nigeria laureate. Also a member, Nigerian Academy of Letters, he does researches more on public health; material health, infectious diseases and literary studies.
Dr Tony Marinho is a medical doctor, poet, author and newspaper columnist. He is a renowned and practicing obstetrician and gynaecologist based in Ibadan. His leadership role manifested way back at the saint Gregory College, Obalende, Lagos, where he was a head boy of his set. Marinho has been one of the most formidable promoters of ANA and its ideals since time past. For this, his inclusion is in line with the principles of the fellowship.
Professor Dul Johnson is a filmmaker, author, scholar, dramatist. He began his career as a drama director with NTA, Jos. Now, a professor of Literature and Film Studies, he is the deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Bingham University. Author of many books, he is equally the producer of such films as: There is Nothing Wrong with my Uncle, The Widow’s might, Against the Grain, Wasting for the West and more. His books include: Living with Shadows, Deeper into the Night, Why Women Won’t make it to Heaven and more. His place among the fellows is highly in order due to his remarkable contributions to literature in Nigeria.
Professor Francis Oisaghaede Egbokhare is a prolific author, academic, linguist. He lectures at the University of Ibadan. He is a member of Nigerian Academy of Letters. A distinguished professor of Linguistics, who had his first degree at the University of Benin and doctorate at the University of Ibadan, he has published over 35 books, mostly on his local mother tongue in Edo State. His forte and areas of research are on Ethics, Historical Linguistics and Syntax. In addition, he is a newspaper columnist. He is therefore one of the most eligible persons for the fellowship.
Professor Ademola Dysylva is an expert in African and oral literature. A poet, literary theorist, and critic, Dysylva is a fellow of Nigerian Academy of Letters who has written a lot of books in his area of literary scholarship. He teaches English at the University of Ibadan.
Engineer Frank Opigo is the director of works and services, Niger Deita University, Amasoma. A former Chairman Bayelsa ANA, editor The Marine magazine and some of his tit1es includes Vowe1s in the Air, Songs of Our Father and others He believes that and it is so that the abi1ity to write is an exclusive preserve of those who studied Eng1ish or the humanity Opigo is a1so a politician and academic.
Another person on the list is Professor Amanze Austin Akpuda. He is of the Abia State University, Uturu, where he teaches English. A prolific writer, Akpuda is also a critic, poet and author.
Professor Udenta Udenta is an author, scholar and human rights activist. An English language scholar he is one of the main backbone of ANA in terms of support and encouragement. Professor Olatunji Fashina is also included based on his role in promoting scholarship and literary matters in Nigeria. Fashina is of the University of Ibadan. With this water-tight list, ANA is wired to ignite a formidable international convention in Abuja come October 26th. It is expected that all the recipients will be in the house to give ANA a rousing and wholesome convention.